Political science PhD student receives inaugural Stephen G. Walker fellowship

By

Matt Oxford

Cagla Demirduzen was awarded the inaugural Stephen G. Walker Graduate Support Fellowship from the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University for the 2019-20 academic year.

The fund for this award was established by former School of Politics and Global Studies students in honor of Emeritus Professor Stephen Walker, who was a faculty member in the Department of Political Science from 1969 until his retirement in 2003. It is intended to support students studying international relations and foreign policy in particular.

“It’s wonderful to learn that Ms. Demirduzen is the inaugural recipient of the Graduate Support Fellowship Award,” Walker said. “Her record of scholarship as a graduate student clearly qualifies her for the financial assistance that the award will provide, as she pursues her research interests in role theory and foreign policy.”

Demirduzen is an ASU political science PhD student and Fulbright scholar. She holds degrees in international relations from Bilkent University and Middle East Technical University.

Her current research focuses on the public perceptions about foreign policy roles in Turkey.

“This funding will help me a lot to complete this article especially during the summer period where I was not able to return back to my country due to recent circumstances,” Demirduzen said. “Appreciation of my work has also created an immense motivation to me for my future studies.”

Demirduzen shared with ASU Now more about her recent research and the impact of the Stephen G. Walker Graduate Support Fellowship:

Question: What is the current research project you are working on?

Answer: Our article aims to develop a framework to understand how political regimes influence horizontal and vertical role contestation in Turkey. Conducting a content analysis of the main party leaders (AKP, CHP, MHP, IYI, HDP), we map each party's foreign policy role conceptualizations about Turkey’s foreign relations and test horizontal role contestation hypothesis.

We methodologically provide the first empirical analysis of the public opinion about foreign policy roles conducted in the context of the original three-years-long public opinion survey study. Then, utilizing this nationwide survey finding, we evaluate public perceptions of the same foreign policy roles vis a vis Turkey's international relations. By comparing findings from the party elites and the public, we test the vertical role contestation hypothesis in Turkey.

These findings will fill a gap in the literature about the relationship between political regimes and vertical and horizontal role contestations and provide a novel framework for future research. Studies analyzing vertical contestation remain limited due to the lack of data on public level acceptance of foreign policy roles; therefore, this article will contribute to a rare systematic study of public role perceptions.

Q: What does it mean to you to be chosen for this award?

A: I am deeply honored to receive this award, especially an honor that it is carrying the name of one of our most recognized and respectable scholars in this field. To be recognized by the people that I was inspired by in the first place to study foreign policy analysis is very special. Hence, it means a lot for me.

I am especially thankful and indebted for the donors who made this funding possible and for their immeasurable support. They will always be a role model for me throughout my journey in this field. I would also specifically like to thank my adviser for his great mentorship and invaluable input to my intellectual development in foreign policy analysis as well.